tv [untitled] August 25, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT
>> that's a hard act to follow. beautiful presentation, really. i was here at the operations committee meeting, as you know. this is sort of a culmination of a long process with the japanese teagarden. we started with request for proposals for new operator which was selected and carol has been in operation for two full years. beginning i think next -- beginning of next month. part of her proposal was $500,000 gift in her proposal for the rehabilitation of the tea house and the gift shop in the japanese teagarden that was very generously given by jack hirose which probably spurred the idea of naming the tea house for jack to begin with. but once i started doing a lot of research on jack, i
mentioned at the committee meeting, i was very impressed by his broad background in the city and more specifically in the japanese american community. jack was born and raised in san francisco. his parents immigrated from japan along with other japanese and japanese american individuals was sent to internment camps during world war ii. during that work he helped bring extra dollars. at that point he joined the united states army as a translator and worked under general mcarthur and stayed in japan after the war for a period of time and then he moved back to san francisco and went to college and got a degree in accounting. ended up starting his own business because the prejudice still remained after the war and he was really not able to
be hired by large companies. but the -- this is the great part of knowing about jack after i've gotten to know him is that he spent all of the time he was away in the country thinking what he was going to do for him and his family and his friends from the japanese american community in san francisco when he came back here. so rather than let things like that get him down he started his business to reach out for japanese companies so that he would -- he would bring them and his clients. in 1959 he first approached the city about operating the concessions in the japanese teagarden. it had just returned to be called the japanese teagarden. during the war it was called the oriental garden. that was an enormous public event when it was turned back to japanese teagarden. so jack operated the concessions in the teagarden along with his other businesses
from 1959 to 1992. and over the course -- if you recalculate the dollars, according to improvements that he's put into the guarden including this $500,000 that he gave to ms. mirata, he's given almost $1 million thus far. but i think the most important thing and the reason that the san francisco foundation approached us about naming the tea house for jack was his undying effort to and his philanthropy and generosity for so many organizations in san francisco in and out of the japanese american community, to be able to honor him in this way. i had the distinct pleasure, actually, if you want to call it that, of attending jack's funeral in 2009 because even though i didn't know him really well personally i think when you go to a memorial service or a funeral for somebody, even if
you know them well you walk away knowing so much more about that individual. to stand up and listen to those i know well, those in the japanese american community, stand up and tell how much he affected their lives and what he did for them, laura can i mora is someone i met because he's our accountant for some of our past concessions. i didn't know he and jack's son, don, worked in the tea house when they were in high school. so it was a huge fabric that was brought together in my mind. so with that -- and i attached a biography, i think, in your pact and you have letters of recommendations -- in your packet and you have letters of recommendations supporting this, i wanted to bring this to your request and personally it's been a great adventure for me to get to know more about jack and what he means for the
community and exactly how much it meant for the community to have the garden rehar bill tated as it is today. i'm hoping within the next month or two, part of the general manager's report, we have a lot of pictures collected of the work that's been done in the garden and if you have not gone by the garden recently you should do that. i'd also like to thank rick from the capital division because the city had a part in this. we actually replaced another bridge as part of these improvements and rick did an outstanding job in getting that done. president buell: thank you. >> we do have public comment. don timaki and sandy mori. >> thank you, commissioners, and general manager ginsburg, thank you. tom, you are also a hard act to follow.
i think you did well in summarizing jack's life and, of course, we recognize the generosity of his gift done to the san francisco japantown foundation so that his intern can fund the renovations that was badly needed in the japanese teagarden but also jack hirose is a hero within the japanese american community. as you can see from the letters for a number of reasons. so what we're actually talking about is his legacy. it's not only the legacy of this individual in the japanese american community but it's part of the fabric of the city of san francisco that i think tom outlined. his parents immigrated like so many japanese americans from san francisco at the turn of the century. at a time of ultraracism, ultrasegregation in this community. and despite that in the most -- in the finest way of american tradition, overcame that.
world war ii happened, of course. like others, 110,000 others, jack hirose's family wound up inturned in toe paz, combruth, -- topaz, because he looked like the enemy along with the rest of the families. he volunteered to work with the military intelligence service which trained at the presidio in secret while their families remained incarcerated in various internment camps throughout the united states. i think the most important that throughout that never lost faith in america and came back to the japanese american community as a major contributor and supporter. and so i represent the san francisco japantown foundation. jack was a founding member of that foundation. was founded in 2005, and because of contributions, including jack's, we've given away dozens of grants to
cultural community educational groups. and in the latest opportunity, played a role in working with tom and his staff in connection with renovating the japanese teagarden. so we think it's singularly fitting to name the fey house after him and -- tea house after him and then in commemoration of his contributions and also the contributions of japanese americans generally in the city of san francisco, we think it's fitting to also have the placement of that plaque. so i really want to thank you for the opportunity to address you on this. and it's a pleasure, really, to work with the staff of the park and rec department. i complend tom for doing such a fine -- i commend tom for doing such a fine job working with the community. thank you. president buell: thank you. >> good afternoon. president buell and members of the commission and director
ginsburg. i'm sandy mori. i'm a member of the directors of the japantown foundation and a founder. don is our president. present today is keith komasu kimbings. when you see the renovation of the teagarden you'll be pleased of this very culturally appropriate venue and you'll love the design and the fact that the wood in the tea house has no nails in it. that's one of the very well-known japanese car pen tree techniques. -- carpentry techniques. carol has done a wonderful job making sure that everything in there is appropriate, very culturally sensitive. i'd like to acknowledge her work. she is here today, along with her staff.
and i'd like to call carol up to the podium with me and have her show a few photos that she took recently to show you the recent renovations so that you could get a little bit pictorial idea about what it looks like now. and also while she's coming up, i want to commend your staff person, tom hart, who we've worked with. our board member bob, has been working closely on. tom has been giving us the guide anls as we go through this process in asking for this request. so this is carol mirata. we'd like to show you some of the photos. i don't know if you could see it. this is before and after. president buell: can you pass those closer up? we'd love to see them. >> great. president buell: thank you.
>> so, commissioners, jack's family, his wife and son, would be so delighted with this particular commemoration and plaque and designation of the tea house. so we ask you for your support on this request. thank you very much. president buell: thank you very much. >> is there anyone else who would like to make public comment about this item? seeing none, public comment is closed. president buell: commissioner lee. commissioner lee: these photos look great. i was commenting with my commissioner up here, commissioner harrison, the bridgework looks terrific. commissioner harrison: it really does.
commissioner lee: the gentlemen that did the interior work, lynn brackett, who has appeared before the commission before, his company did the interior work of the tea house and the gift shop was also contracted to do this bridge as well. and for the first time i will say that this is the first time that the tea house in the japanese tea garden will be accessible. from going from the street into the large project. so the tea house now is fully accessible. a.d.a. accessible. this is terrific work and i think, you know, the community has from the beginning has really stepped up and i think it's fully appropriate to name the building after -- i mean, made it all happen. i remember when mr. hirose came
before us just shortly before he passed away, i think it was just a few months after he spoke in front of this commission that he faffed away. and i think it's fitting that now that the vision that was outlined to this commission last year's finally coming through fruition that we should recognize the work of mr. hirose. president buell: thanks, tom. seeing no other questions i'd just observe i can't imagine a more appropriate thing to do. and thank the community for coming forward and making this recommendation. thanks, tom. have a motion. >> so moved. president buell: moved. seconded. all those in favor. aye. it is unanimous. thank you. >> item number 11 is the new park at 17th and folsom. >> hello.
i'll also try and follow those two presentations. i am very pleased to be before you to present an opportunity for this commission to recommend to the board of supervisors that we build a new park. it's a pretty special day i think for the recreation and park commission and for our park system which is old and always needs new things like this. the item before you was originally presented at the july capital committee and received a recommendation to approve. we were working on some of the details of the m.o.u. and so that's why we're bringing it back to you today. we've been working very closely with a lot of partners, clubs the p.u.c., which is the current owner of the site, and the mayor's offers of housing and we're finalizing some of the details of the paying back of funds for cleanup and other items and those are still in progress but the park and the plans are definitely exciting and moving forward so i wanted
to -- we wanted to bring it to you today. first, i want to talk about i think the funding. i want to talk a little bit about the fact this park would be in a very high-needs neighborhood. the community outreach to date, an overview of the park and our next steps. i'm also -- i'd also like to recognize i'm joined by a whole fleet of members of our city family that's been working very hard on this. susan from the planning department. jay from the n.t.a., april from supervisor kim's office. john is here from the department of real estate. the p.u.c., mayor's office of housing. they're all here if you have any questions about the project. so i think that the funding story on this park is excellent. we have funds for the acquisition. all the various life cycles of a park. we have funds for the acquisition through the eastern neighborhood impact fees, for the development through the prop 84 state grant that you
allowed us to apply for several months ago on this project. we also have funds for maintenance from the eastern neighborhood impact fees. there's not too many times i think a project comes before us that has this kind of funding behind it. so all of those funding sources are from non-r.p.d. sources. i also like to highlight because we have these funding sources and the park is in such a high needs neighborhood it would score at the top of the list with our new draft acquisition policy that the parks and open space advisory committee and the department staff has been working very hard and will be bringing back before you in september. it's precisely this kind of project that led to prozac and other members of the community saying we really need to look at our acquisition policy. this park was -- is in a neighborhood, as you can see from these two diagrams, in a very high-needs neighborhood in
both the 16986 recreation and open stays element of the city's general plan and even today in the new draft revised 2011 high-needs area map that's included in the draft roads. so -- in other words, for the last 20 years this has been a high-needs neighborhood. it will continue to be a high-needs neighborhood and this park is one step i think in moving this neighborhood forward and providing more park space. within a half mile radius from the site there is approximately .36 acres. that's less than half an acre of open space for 1,000 residents compared to the city average of 6.7 acres for 1,000 residents. after years of analysis and community planning, the eastern neighborhoods plan has been adopted which provides improvements to the neighborhoods in eastern san francisco. so i'm here providing -- this is images of the plan areas that are included in the
eastern neighborhoods plan which is an adopted citywide plan which will bring new housing and new resources, just parks and other improvements to these neighborhoods. in the mission neighborhood alone, and i'm going to highlight -- that's the green one -- in the mission neighborhood alone that will result in up to 2,000 new housing units, a population increase up to 7,000 people and, again, within the half mile radius of the site and the site is represented with the red star, there are only .3 acres of open space per 1,000 residents. so the outreach process on this park has been long. in fact, i think you'll hear later from members of podair, oscar who spoke at last month's meeting, this project's actually been talked about by the community for years, starting with the department actively in 2009 and through the eastern neighborhoods process an idea of a new park in this area has been discussed
for quite sometime. there have been over 15 community meetings with over 300 participants and we've been again partnering with podair, which is the people organizing to demand environmental and economic rights. i think you're going to hear more from them a bit later. we will further detail the design for the play gruned other elements in the park and the n. -- m.t.a. is working with a park plan to have it from a paid parking lot to a farc. meeting with all the local businesses and the various community groups involved will continue this fall. i wanted to show you an image of some of you -- at the full commission meeting when we brought this before you, a lot of the members were able to attend. a lot of those kids are in
school today and couldn't ble here again today. i wanted to mention that they came and represented their support for this project. again, the m.t.a., the planning department, community organizations, supervisors kim and camp oasto s's office. we have -- canpos'office. so currently the site is a paid parking lot owned by the san francisco public utilities commission. it's surrounded by residentses, businesses, community organizations and a high-density, low-income, culturally diversed neighborhood diefficient of open space.
-- deficient of open space. what happened there? so this is the portion of the site that would be occupied by the park. the other portion would be -- at the same project being sold to the mayor's office of housing. our park would take up approximately half of the site. and the parking lot would continue to function for at least a year into -- in its current condition until 2012 and during that time we'll be working with the mayor's office -- excuse me -- the metropolitan transportation authority tanned others to develop parking strategies to make improvements to the neighborhood parking availability and, again, the rest of the portion of the site will continue to function as it is until the mayor's office of housing will move forward with their project which i understand could be quite a few years. this is the area surrounding the park. here's some images of some of
the housing down the street from the park. and one of the images i show from red star. you see that compared to the housing. and here's the park site plan. i know this came before you. this plan is conceptual. it shows a playground. we're thinking of both area for adult and kid play. lawn areas. and some very, very state-of-the-art environmental sustainability features. i really think that this park in many ways is a flagship park for sustainability in our system providing bioswells. and the new park design we've ever implemented including low-impact design which is the reuse of water collection on the site. using a cistern. performance bases for the opportunity for community to perform on site. and other educational elements. so something the community has been very actively interested in seeing at their site. so here's some images of the adult exercise equipment and
the lawns and other types of things that could be included in this park as we move forward. again, there's been a lot of different partners helping us to make the park what this neighborhood has been asking for. and to the next steps we'd be going to the public utilities commission in early mid september and then the board of supervisors would review and hopefully approve the jurisdictional transfer and also continuing our community outreach with the partnership of municipal transportation agency and additional design workshops in the fall. and i'd like to at this time pass around -- i know you've already received a big packet of emails that we've gathered of let irs writ -- letters of written support. i am going to ask april to come up.
>> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is april and i'm here on behalf of supervisor kim. she couldn't be here today but wanted to convair her strong support of the park -- convey her strong support of the park. to bring to you all as commissioners. i just wanted to read this letter for the record. "dear commissioners, i'm writing to express my strong support at 17th and fulsom in my district. district six a vibrant mixed use district which lacks open space for our residents, young and old, to safely engage with neighbors. this park will support an underserved area of the mission district and identified as an opportunity suit in the eastern rezoning process. this is an exciting opportunity to transfer surplus property for affordable housing and open space. i want to commend the staff,
the planning department and recreation and park commission for their work in conjunction with the community to develop preliminary design concepts. by engaging community members, supervisors and other city agencies to get honest feedback from honest stakeholders involved. this shows community involvement such as encouraging multicultural uses of the park, including the use of solar, energy and creating space for recycling and environmental conservation education. the project also addresses the city's continued need for affordable house and family-friendly neighborhood planning. our office is committed to supporting this effort. identifying key stakeholders and engaging in a community process. which includes their input. sincerely jane kim." thank you very much. president buell: thank you. >> there were additional supporters that had to go back to work but there are other
people, i'm sure, that will speak on their behalf. thank you. president buell: thank you. commissioner lee had a question. commissioner lee: yes. i had a question on maintenance. when we heard this at capital you said there was a possibility that you could -- the maintenance costs were, what did you say, $40,000 annually? >> yes. commissioner lee: and you believe you could raise the -- to pay those funds with moneys raised from -- >> we have the first three years of maintenance funds in hand. it will be coming through the eastern neighborhood impact fee which is a fee levied through the eastern neighborhood plan for development so those dollars are already in place. those will pay for the first three years of maintenance. after that time i think there's options of community and we've been talking to folks through the neighborhood planning process about potentially having concessions or other
things that could also help further fundraise for the site. but i think it would be good for the first few years to see how it goes and what the best plan goes. commissioner lee: i encourage you to come up with a plan because those three years will go by very fast. i'd be interested in hearing when you do have a plan in terms of a sustainability plan to continue maintaining the site and how we can fund that. i'd like to hear that when you got to together. >> thank you. president buell: thank you. >> we do have public comment. mara blitzer, oscar grande, francisco ramos. norma. enrique delvilla to start with. >> hi. actually, mara had to go back to a meeting so i'm here in
lieu of her. my name is serena. i work for a 30-year-old nonprofit housing development corporation that develops, owns and operates and provides services for 3,000 low-income individuals and families in 30 buildings within five neighborhoods throughout san francisco. we own and manage mosaic apartments and mosaic senior housing which is located at 18th and alabama which has nine apartments for families and children and 10 specific to seniors. these families will greatly benefit from this park, and community programming that is being planned for the 17th and fomsom site which is less than four blocks away from the building. we really urge the commission to continue its support and the community's effort to convert this site into a park and we really continue to support all
the energy that has started with the eastern neighborhoods and is continuing on in this development with this park and so we're just here today to just voice our support and we're really, really excited about what this park will do for our community. thank you. president buell: thank you. >> oscar. >> thank you, commissioners. my name is oscar delvilla. i am glad to be here with my comaneros and companeras. this is a vision -- has been a vision 10 years in the making. while we're dealing with issues of housing displacement, skyrocketing rents, you know, street violence, environmental street violence, environmental injustices at the same time